The last time the St. Thomas University Tommies went to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Soccer Nationals was 2000-01.
Dean Lackie and Yuzo Otano led the 2000-01 Tommies to CCAA Nationals at Langara College in Vancouver, BC, but didn’t have the fate they had hoped for, falling 6-0, 8-1 and 8-1 in their three games there.
That year four current members of the men’s soccer team were born. Riley MacLeod, George Tzimas, Benson Osajie and Nunzio Marceca were all fresh to the world.
It has all come full circle as they get a chance to head to Holland College Tuesday for the championship tournament.
The Tommies will enter the tournament after winning a silver medal at ACAA Championships, falling to Holland College 2-1 in the finals.
Led by 3rd year midfielder Kyle Yearwood (Bridgetown, Barbados) who was named a 1st Team All-Conference and CCAA All-Canadian, the Tommies will look to make some noise this time around.
“In our preseason meeting the boys set Nationals as their main goal for the season,” said head coach John-Ryan Morrison, this year's ACAA Coach of the Year. "Based upon our previous two seasons (3-17-4 record) we discussed the importance of setting attainable goals, but they were confident they could do it and here we are."
The first matchup for the Tommies will be against the undefeated NAIT Ooks. The Ooks went 9-0-1 in their regular season and scored 65 goals while only allowing 5 in their 10 games played. The Tommies are built for a team like that as all five of their All-Conference players are on the defensive side of the ball; Yearwood, John Hunter (Fredericton, NB), Eric Prior (Gananoque, ON), James Hill (Rothesay, NB) and George Tzimas (Toronto, ON).
“It's a crazy stat when you think about it, but we have the best defensive record in our league and we've contained high scoring offences before so we're going to use that experience to help us against a very strong team,” said Morrison.
The Tommies kick off the tournament Wednesday, November 6 at 10:00am (AST). If you can’t make it to Prince Edward Island you can catch all the action live on http://www.ccaa.ca/sports/msoc/championship/webcast/index.